Police officials on Tuesday said they fear the fatal shooting of a mother and daughter in their West Baltimore home last week "really ramps up the level of retaliation big time" — and could spur additional violence.
T.J. Smith, the Baltimore Police Department's chief spokesman, said on the "C4 Show" on WBAL Radio that police believe Chanette Neal, 43, and her daughter Justice Allen, 22, were in a home that was targeted by whoever "busted in the back door" on April 4.
But while the home was targeted, police do not believe the women were the reason for that — and were simply caught up in whatever feud had drawn the suspects to the home.
"We do not believe that these two were the targets of this situation, but they became the target," Smith said, suggesting it was the latest example in the city of a cycle of retaliation spreading through friend and family networks.
If those responsible for the women's killings aren't arrested, that cycle may continue, Smith said, with others seeking "street justice, which could end up being another family suffering a loss. We don't want that."
Many Baltimore shootings are retaliatory, with friends and family members of targets ending up targets themselves — or collateral damage of shooters who Smith said "don't care about the rules of the game" that discourage shootings of women and children, no matter the beef.
Capt. Jarron Jackson, another department spokesman who appeared on the C4 Show along with Smith, said it brought to mind for him the 2015 killing of Jennifer Jeffrey-Browne, 31, and her 7-year-old son, Kester "Tony" Browne, also in their own home.
They said that case, which remains unsolved, also appears linked to an out-of-control cycle of retaliation.
Such a cycle has also been blamed by police in the high-profile 2016 killing of rapper Lor Scoota.
Anyone with information in Neal and Allen's killings is asked to call homicide detectives at 410-396-2100 or text a tip to 443-902-4824, or call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-LOCK-UP.